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UC Riverside scientists contribute to study that unveils genome sequence of bread mold

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- April 30, 2003 -- In the April 24, 2003, issue of the journal Nature, scientists, including UC Riverside's Katherine A. Borkovich, assistant professor in the department of plant pathology, and her postdoctoral fellow, Svetlana Krystofova, present the entire list of genes found in the Neurospora genome. (A genome is all the DNA in an organism, including its genes.) The scientists' analysis promises many new insights into a variety of cellular processes, including environmental sensing, biological clocks, growth and development.

"Knowledge of the genes present in Neurospora will accelerate the analysis of both Neurospora and related fungal species," said Borkovich. "The genome sequence of the model system Neurospora provides a molecular insight into a large group of organisms important to agriculture, medicine, the environment and commerce."

Economic benefits of the research will emanate from the discovery of new targets for control of plant and animal pathogens and from the harnessing of filamentous fungi for the production of novel antibiotics and other secondary metabolites.

Neurospora, commonly known as the orange bread mold, was first described during an infestation of French bakeries in 1843. Domesticated as an experimental organism in the 1920s, Neurospora has been an important model system from that time until today.

"Neurospora is extremely tractable genetically and has been an important research organism for much of the last century," said Borkovich. "For example, the 1958 Nobel Prize winning work of George Beadle and Edward Tatum, which linked together the disciplines of genetics and biochemistry, or genes and proteins, was performed using Neurospora."

The natural habitat of Neurospora was originally thought to be limited to tropical and subtropical regions of the world. But wild isolates of Neurospora have been
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@citrus.ucr.edu
909-787-2645
University of California - Riverside
30-Apr-2003


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